New Report Warns of Expanding Threat of Hypoxia in US Coastal Waters
Declining oxygen levels in U.S. waters are forming dead zones and destroying habitats. Incidents of hypoxia—a condition in which oxygen levels drop so low that fish and other animals are stressed or killed—have increased nearly 30 fold in U.S. waters since 1960, according to a new interagency report submitted to Congress. Although the report finds federal research programs are coordinating and addressing many aspects of the problem, restoring systems such as the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay, it concludes overall management efforts to stem the tide of hypoxia have not made significant headway. The report provides a comprehensive list of the more than 300 U.S. coastal water bodies affected by hypoxia, describes Federal investments in research and monitoring of hypoxia, and identifies future research priorities. The report is the final of five reports mandated by Congress in the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Amendments Act of 2004 and is available online at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/nstc/oceans.